2023 has been a year of transformational growth and loss.
We received a $100,000 unrestricted grant from the Harold and Colene Brown Foundation in support of our education mission and for the second year welcomed 5th grade students from Pasadena Unified. The students learn about watershed, compost, and habitat, and they are often in awe when I show them what our community has accomplished over the past 18 years.
We celebrated the garden (on an unusually hot fall afternoon) by raising a record $45,000 at this year’s Autumn in the Garden gala. We honored Ground Breaker Cynthia Kurtz and Constant Gardener George Brumder with a poetry reading by Leah Thomas (founder of Intersectional Environmentalist) and gorgeous harp music by Nailah Hunter. Artist, actor, and Advisory Council member, Billy Zane painted during the event and you can have a chance to bid on his gorgeous artwork here!
On a more personal note, I am happy to have participated in the Leadership Pasadena, and Rising Leaders Fellowship with Justice Outside. These were incredibly significant opportunities, especially while I suffered my own personal loss, with the unexpected death of my father in May, and I am now taking care of my mother who has ALS. I have become deeply attuned to the tenuousness of life and having a place like Arlington reminds me daily of the beauty and necessity to be connected to the natural living world. There should be places like Arlington all over Los Angeles County.
This year we lost one of our mature coast live oak trees. As you know, oaks are keystone species which provide essential habitat to many different species. I’m very glad to share that the dead tree is now in the process of being transformed into a gathering table for the garden by Angel City Lumber. It has been “cured” and will be given legs welded by the artist James Naish, who created our gate.
As we come to the end of the year, I would like to reiterate our appreciation for the contributions of board members Kim Jacobsen, Joni Topper, Shannon Porter, Palin Samuelson, Melissa Weinberger and Daniel Wier who stepped down from the board this past year. I am also happy to announce that we have gained two new board members Mel Alonzo, City of Pasadena Parks Administrator, and our new Treasurer, Sarah Kerns. Mel has over 20 years of local government experience in budgeting and project management with a MPA and a JD from Northern Illinois University and a BS from Cal State Dominguez Hills. Sarah moved to South Pasadena in August 2020 and graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and an MS in Entrepreneurial Leadership. Sarah is a CPA and a tax technology consultant at Deloitte in Los Angeles, where she also provides strategic consulting services to nonprofits across Southern California.
We are so fortunate to have the energy and enthusiasm of our current board chair Sybil Grant who has replanted the succulent fountain, helped lead a recent weekend volunteer workshop with 40+ UCLA students, and much more. She isn’t afraid to get her hands in the dirt!
Thank you for all of your support of Arlington Garden in Pasadena, and helping us continue to achieve our mission as “a climate-appropriate, habitat garden offering learning, inspiration, and enjoyment for all” in service to our broader vision to be “a transformed urban landscape where healthy gardens connect people and combat climate change.”
I am thrilled that we can work to pursue this inspirational vision together in 2024.